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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Election 2015: Godzilla vs. The Zombie Apocalypse (UPDATED-IER)

It should be.  This could be a subtle stroke of genius by Team Trudeau - one all the lobbyists out there should be paying attention to.

Watershed management and floods.  Ice storm-ready buildings and the tools necessary for rapid response.  Emergency Preparedness plans that extend beyond the 72 hour cycle to what we've been witnessing, which is week-long or longer crisis impacts.

Oh - and individual training, community preparedness and better resource-allocation mechanisms between jurisdictions.  Not to mention the social-emotional learning, self-regulation and other things that go along with it.  Throw in some Open Government/citizen engagement for good measure.

Stephen Harper has done a great job over the years of positioning the greatest threats Canada faces as human (or not-quite-human) - terrorists lapping at our shores, separatists trying to tear us apart, special interest groups undermining everything that real Canadians hold dear.

It's man vs. man.

It has been in Harper's interest to get us angry, paranoid and functionally fixed on getting what we want right now, to hell with everyone else.

It's also how he's governed; fear the Zombie Apocalypse and build up the fire walls.

If Trudeau's team are being as clever as we should hope they are, they've landed on the perfect narrative to counter the Harpernian Progressive Apocalypse:

The Sustained Severe Weather Event.

It doesn't matter what kind of coffee you drink, whether you're a social elitist, a Bay Street power broker, a rural farmer or a middle-income worker anywhere.  When nature strikes, all of that gets stripped away.  If anything, in crises like these heroism tends to come from the ground up, not the top down.

Why?  Because it's in times of shared crisis that real leaders emerge, the kind that rally people to common purpose.  This doesn't tend to be a profitable enterprise, as leaders suck at putting themselves first.  It takes periods of darkness for their lights to shine fully.

In a people vs. nature conflict, it's in everyone's interest to work together.  We're still afraid - fear is a powerful motivator and politics is all about motivation - but what we fear isn't someone out there right now who wants to hurt us.

It's something that could happen to all of us that, collaboratively, we can prepare for.  It feels good to get ready.

Just(in) for fun, there are a growing number of man-vs.-nature movies coming out over the next year or so that will reinforce this concern into our social conscience.

Weather the storm together, or trust one leader to keep the zombies at bay.

The functionally fixed oak of a leader that is Harper, or the dynamic, empathetic force of nature that is Trudeau.  This can be portrayed as the immovable object vs. the unstoppable force.

It can also be framed as reaction vs. preparedness.

Now that would make for an interesting ballot question.

I swear to god, I don't plan these sorts of narrative-builds out in advance.

Ontario is tapped out - you can reactively blame whoever you want, but the fact remains the province does not have enough cash to support municipalities in their ice-storm damage repairs.  And that doesn't even touch what damage might occur if we have a particularly torrential spring.  

Think flooded streets, flooded basements, mold, damaged cars and roadways - the potential costs are a nightmare.  When the storm hits, people (whether voters or not) aren't going to be focused on who to blame, but who can help.  

You know who does have some coin to spare, though?  Ottawa.  The federal government, if it was feeling civic-minded, could assist the provinces and municipalities directly in a coordinated effort to mitigate existing storm-damage costs and better prepare to avoid or minimize future damage.

To change course like that, though, you need to be more like a reed than an oak.

Winter's coming to an end, it's time to get ready for Spring...

UPDATED 27/2/14 - He noted, however, that more extreme weather - like Toronto's December ice storm - may be more likely in the future due to a warming planet.


UPDATED 8/21/14

"And frankly, this terrorist caliphate in our judgment represents an increasing long-term threat to the security of our own country.  It is that serious."

Terrorist caliphate, like a mindless hoard.  Increasing threat, security of our country. 

Not to minimize the horrific beheading of James Foley or to absolve the murderers of the heinousness of their act, but what exactly is the risk they pose to our own country?  Are we worried they're going to bomb us?  Are they coming here next to behead Canadians on our own soil?

The answer is no.  They are a threat to Canadians overseas; they present a threat in terms of recruitment, probably, but that's got as much to do with internal conditions that make terrorism seem like an appealing choice to some.

Maybe Harper believes in what he says; maybe he's being a political opportunist.  Both have happened over his tenure, though I'd say we've seen more of the latter than the former.

Either way, you can see why "only we can keep the zombies beyond the wall" is a compelling narrative for Team Harper.

Winter is coming, however, and they may find that trying to keep threats at bay simply isn't enough.

Time will tell...


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